The Winnipeg Jets and defenseman Jacob Trouba had an arbitration hearing Friday as both parties struggle to agree on how much the blue liner should make annually.
Earlier reports from NHL insider Elliotte Friedman had the Jets making a $4-million arbitration bid while Trouba and his agent, Kurt Overhardt, countered with $7 million. The 24-year-old defender recently completed a two-year bridge contract that carried an annual cap hit of $3 million.
While other players around the league could go through arbitration hearings to settle their future with a team, Paul Wiecek of the Winnipeg Free Press believes the history of bad blood between Trouba and the Jets will get worse by going through the arbitration hearing. He adds that it will leave a lasting scar in their relationship that will eventually lead to the defenseman’s departure out of Winnipeg.
Wiecek goes a step further and even wonders if Trouba wants to play for the Jets in the future. After all, teammates such as Dustin Byfuglien, Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers and Connor Hellebuyck had no problem agreeing to lucrative long-term deals with the team.
What could happen is that Trouba and the Jets will finally settle on a one-year contract, and Trouba will hit the free agency market next summer. However, the Jets would lose him for nothing...
The Jets have been struggling with a financial puzzle which caused them to lose star player Paul Statsny who was brought into the Jets' roster at the trade deadline. He ended up signing with the Vegas Golden Knights. The Jets are going to be near the ceiling of the salary cap once again this season and have an even tougher cap crunch coming in 2019-20. They will have a lot of their plate as star forward Patrik Laine’s new deal is likely to be massive, captain Blake Wheeler will be looking for a new deal and there will be a significant raise for it as Kyle Connor will be coming out of his entry-level contract.
However, you have to admit: it seems impossible to do without Trouba, who averaged just under 22 minutes per game last season. Only Byfuglien, the highest paid player on the Jets, sees more ice time on a nightly basis.
Expectations around the league are that a five or six year deal in and around the $5.5 million per season range is reasonable.
The Jets also have arbitration hearings with Brandon Tanev (July 25) and Marko Dano (July 30), however there is no bad blood with these players...